The intro for episode one of Batman: The Telltale Series titled The Realm of Shadows was one of the best I’ve seen in all of the games I’ve played. The first episode served as an exciting start to a new series and hopefully the momentum will continue.
The review contains minor spoilers regarding the plot of this game. You have been warned!
The gameplay shifts between playing as Bruce Wayne and Batman. Both roles offer something different to the players. With Bruce, it is more about interacting with other characters while maintaining his playboy billionaire persona. With Batman, the player gets to be more violent and investigate crime scenes. Speaking of violence, the Caped Crusader in this game is quite brutal, something I wasn’t expecting. It is fun to punch bad guys right in the face or intimidate them but it also didn’t feel the like the Batman-way of doing things. But then again Bruce is going through a lot of confusion and drama related to his parents and why he wore the cape in the first place. Alfred is there to speak some sense into him now and then, but I’m excited to see if Telltale Games will allow players to turn Batman into a villain by the end of this series.
Similar to other Telltale titles there isn’t much players can do with regards to changing the course of the overall plot. There are quick-time events that players must complete to progress the story. However, there are some options offered to make the game more immersive and give players some limited choice. During the investigation of crime scenes, it’s the player who has to make connections between clues to solve a mystery. In another sequence, players had the option to choose how they want to take out a whole floor full of thugs.
In the beginning of the game, players can also select the color of Batman’s gadgets. I went for blue even though there was red, purple, and yellow to choose from. I liked Telltale offering such options in order to make the gameplay more unique. It also adds to the replay value of the title. You can also read the codex for other characters, which keeps on updating as the story progresses.
There are also some scenes where you can tell the developer is playing with the gore content found in The Walking Dead series. The graphics are quite nice to look at. The voice acting is also top-notch.
The game also introduces a new feature called ‘crowd play’. This allows other people to participate in the decision making process of the game through any web-enabled device. It adds to the fun of the game if you’re streaming live or if your friends want to join.
Coming to the story, a lot of time hasn’t passed since Bruce became the Caped Crusader. A lot of villains such as Catwoman and Penguin have recently arrived in Gotham. Harvey Dent was campaigning to become mayor with some help from Falcone. Realm of Shadows served as an introduction to these characters and a mystery that is directly linked to the Waynes. The first episode took me two hours to complete which is a suitable gameplay time. If the rest of the episodes are around two hours long too then the full series being ten hours long isn’t a bad deal for such a title.
Owning to the fact that I’m Batman/Catwoman trash, I couldn’t help but fangirl whenever those two shared the screen together. Their first interaction was quite physical. I’m talking about throwing punches, trying to claw eyes out, and still finding the time to flirt with each other. Those two are meant to be together. It was a pleasant surprise when they both got to know about each other’s secret identities in the first episode, their healing injuries providing very obvious hints. It reminded me of Batman Returns. The preview of the second episode showed a team-up between the two and I can’t wait to play it.
In short, I have high hopes for the five-episode Batman: The Telltale Series.
Have you played Batman: The Telltale Series Episode One yet? What did you think of Realm of Shadows? Let us know.
Note: I was provided a copy of the game from Telltale Games.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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